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Proposed Rule

Drawbridge Operation Regulation; Lake Pontchartrain, LA

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Coast Guard, DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of proposed rulemaking.

SUMMARY:

The Coast Guard is proposing to change the drawbridge operation regulation for the draw of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission Causeway across Lake Pontchartrain between Metairie, Jefferson Parish and Mandeville, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. The proposed rule would allow the dual bridges to remain closed to navigation during the morning and afternoon rush hours while still requiring three hours notification at all other times.

DATES:

Comments and related material must reach the Coast Guard on or before October 15, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

You may mail comments to Commander (ob), Eighth Coast Guard District, 501 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130-3396, or deliver them to room 1313 at the same address above between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration Branch maintains the public docket for this rulemaking. Comments and material received from the public, as well as documents indicated in this preamble as being available in the docket, will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection or copying at the Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. David Frank, Bridge Administration Branch, at the address given above or telephone (504) 589-2965.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Request for Comments

The Coast Guard encourages interested parties to participate in this rulemaking by submitting written data, views or arguments. Persons submitting comments should include their names and addresses, identify this rulemaking (CGD08-01-022) and the specific section of this document to which each comment applies and give the reason for each comment. Please submit all comments and attachments in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you would like confirmation of receipt of your comments, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope. We will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. We may change this proposed rule in view of comments received.

Public Meeting

We do not now plan to hold a public meeting. You may submit a request for a public meeting by writing to the Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District, Bridge Administration Branch at the address under ADDRESSES explaining why a public meeting would be beneficial. If we determine that a public meeting would aid this rulemaking, we will hold one at a time and place to be announced by notice in the Federal Register.

Background and Purpose

The bascule span of the dual bridges of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission Causeway across Lake Pontchartrain presently opens on signal if at least three hours notice is given. The Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission has requested a change in the operating schedule of the dual bridges to allow the draw to remain closed during peak vehicular traffic periods. Approximately 15,000 vehicles cross the dual bridges in each direction daily. Of the nearly 15,000 vehicles that cross the southbound bridge from St. Tammany Parish to Jefferson Parish, approximately 50% of these vehicles cross this bridge between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Of the nearly 15,000 vehicles that cross the northbound bridge from Jefferson Parish to St. Tammany Parish, approximately 50% of these vehicles cross this bridge between the hours of 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. During these peak traffic periods, an opening of the draw can cause traffic to back up approximately four to five miles.

Tender logs for the past year indicate that only six vessels have required the draw to open during these times.

Discussion of Proposed Rule

The proposed rule would modify the existing regulation in 33 CFR 117.467(b) to require the draw of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission Causeway to open on signal if at least three hours notice is given; except that, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels Monday through Friday except Federal holidays from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. The draw will open on signal for any vessel in distress or vessel waiting immediately following the closures listed above.

The draw of the Causeway at the north channel has a vertical clearance of 42 feet above mean high water in the closed-to-navigation position and unlimited clearance in the open-to-navigation position. Navigation on the waterway consists of small tugs with tows, fishing vessels, sailing vessels, and other recreational craft. As an alternate route, the south channel fixed spans of the dual bridges provides a vertical clearance of 50 feet above mean high water.

The Coast Guard believes that allowing the draw to remain closed to navigation during the morning and afternoon peak vehicular traffic time periods is reasonable and will still meet the needs of navigation. This conclusion is based upon the low number of opening requests received during these time periods.

Regulatory Evaluation

This proposed rule is not a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 and does not require an assessment of potential costs and benefits under Start Printed Page 42973section 6(a)(3) of that Order. The Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed it under that Order. It is not significant under the regulatory policies and procedures of the Department of Transportation (DOT) (44 FR 11040, February 26, 1979).

The Coast Guard expects the economic impact of this proposed rule to be so minimal that a full Regulatory Evaluation under paragraph 10(e) of the regulatory policies and procedures of DOT is unnecessary.

This proposed rule allows vessels ample opportunity to transit this waterway with proper notification before and after the peak vehicular traffic periods. According to the vehicle traffic surveys, these periods occur between 5:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m.

Small Entities

Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612), we considered whether this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The term “small entities” comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 50,000.

The Coast Guard certifies under 5 U.S.C. 605(b) that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The proposed rule has considered the needs of the local commercial vessels and it has been determined that, under 5 U.S.C. 605(b), it would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

If you think that your business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction qualifies as a small entity and that this proposed rule would have a significant economic impact on it, please submit a comment (see ADDRESSES) explaining why you think it qualifies and how and to what degree this proposed rule would economically affect it.

Assistance for Small Entities

Under section 213(a) of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-121), we want to assist small entities in understanding this proposed rule so that they can better evaluate its effects on them and participate in the rulemaking. If the proposed rule would affect your small business, organization, or governmental jurisdiction and you have questions concerning its provisions or options for compliance, please contact the Bridge Administration Branch, Eighth Coast Guard District at the address above.

Collection of Information

This proposed rule would call for no new collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520).

Federalism

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and have determined that this proposed rule would not have implications for federalism under that Order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) governs the issuance of Federal regulations that require unfunded mandates. An unfunded mandate is a regulation that requires a State, local, or tribal government or the private sector to incur direct costs without the Federal Government's having first provided the funds to pay those costs. This proposed rule would not impose an unfunded mandate.

Taking of Private Property

This proposed rule would not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking implications under Executive Order 12630, Governmental Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Property Rights.

Civil Justice Reform

This proposed rule meets applicable standards in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform, to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and reduce burden.

Protection of Children

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13045, Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks. This proposed rule is not economically significant and does not cause an environmental risk to health or risk to safety that may disproportionately affect children.

Indian Tribal Governments

This proposed rule does not have tribal implications under Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments, because it would not have a substantial direct effect on one or more Indian tribes, on the relationship between the Federal Government and Indian tribes, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities between the Federal Government and Indian tribes.

Energy Effects

We have analyzed this proposed rule under Executive Order 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use. We have determined that it is not a “significant energy action” under that order because it is not a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866 and is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It has not been designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. Therefore, it does not require a Statement of Energy Effects under Executive Order 13211.

Environment

The Coast Guard considered the environmental impact of this proposed rule and concluded that, under figure 2-1, paragraph 32(e), of Commandant Instruction M16475.lD, this proposed rule be categorically excluded from further environmental documentation. A “Categorical Exclusion Determination” is available in the docket where indicated under ADDRESSES.

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List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 117

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Coast Guard proposes to amend part 117 of Title 33, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

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PART 117—DRAWBRIDGE OPERATION REGULATIONS

1. The authority citation for Part 117 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 33 U.S.C. 499; 49 CFR 1.46; 33 CFR 1.05-1(g); section 117.255 also issued under the authority of Pub. L. 102-587, 106 Stat. 5039.

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2. In § 117.467, paragraph (b) is revised to read as follows:

Lake Pontchartrain.
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(b) The draw of the Greater New Orleans Expressway Commission Causeway shall open on signal if at least three hours notice is given; except that, the draw need not be opened for the passage of vessels Monday through Friday except Federal holidays from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. The draw will open on signal for any vessel in distress or vessel waiting immediately following the closures listed in this section.

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Start Printed Page 42974

Dated: August 6, 2001.

Roy J. Casto,

Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Commander, Eighth Coast Guard District.

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[FR Doc. 01-20317 Filed 8-15-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4910-15-U